In today’s society, there is a widespread application of technology for educational purposes, with 65% of teachers using digital tools every day in the United States. However, an astounding 90% of the nearly 19,000 schools in Guatemala still do not have access to technology. Research shows the presence of computers and similar devices in the classroom improves literacy and work-readiness, but sadly, this is an educational opportunity unavailable to students in Guatemala due to the technological absence.
To shift this disparity, the International Medical Outreach program – a collaboration between Atrium Health and Heineman-Robicsek Foundation, Inc. – has partnered with FUNSEPA, a non-profit organization working to modernize the public school system in Guatemala. Through this relationship, we contribute to Technology to Educate, a FUNSEPA initiative supporting their mission to improve the quality of education in the rural Guatemalan public schools through the use of technology.
With approximately half of Guatemalans living in poverty, primarily due to the limited exposure and less-than-ideal quality educational opportunities, our goal is crucial. We are so grateful to those who help by donating their used laptops, desktops, monitors, mouses, keyboards and other peripherals. The donated supplies improve the quality of learning for students by enhancing their math scores and providing them with skills that are applicable across job industries. Educators at the rural public schools receive training on how to use the computers since most of them have never used one. These teachers are then able to build an education program based on this new technology. Parents also receive computer training in the evening.
Since 2010, over 20,000 total computers have been donated to Guatemala through Technology to Educate. This amount would translate into a value of nearly $9.2 million if they were purchased new. Comprehensively, the program has served 1,220 schools and impacted 447,000 students. Through our participation in Technology to Educate, we can make a significant impacton the lives of children by helping them thrive in today’s digital society and workplace.
Through this outreach program and others like it, we are happy to help improve the quality of education for both students, educators and parents of Guatemala. As a result, we aim to empower these communities to lift themselves from the vicious cycle of poverty and low employment.